Local Police Reports

Operation ‘Luna Azul’ Leads To Drug Charges For Nine Defendants

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–March 31, 2011.  Nine men have been charged with importing and distributing large amounts of cocaine into the Chicago area following a joint six-month investigation between state and federal authorities, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Dubbed operation “Luna Azul” or “Blue Moon” the operation utilized electronic surveillance and allowed officers to record several significant cocaine sales that occurred in the vicinity of Chicago’s Midway Airport.  The operation was conducted by members of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Chicago Police Department who worked with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Narcotics Prosecutions Bureau.

In early 2010 authorities identified Luciano Chavarin, 39, of Chicago, as a connection in the smuggling of shipments of cocaine to Chicago. Chavarin would then work with Santiago Gonzalez, 42, also of Chicago, who would arrange sales of the narcotics to local individuals.

According to investigators this organization went to significant length to avoid detection by utilizing “trap cars” or automobiles with hidden compartments built into them to stash large amount of narcotics.

When making drug sales, members would take one “trap car” containing several kilos of cocaine and exchange it for another “trap car” from their customers filled with cash.

Through the use of electronic surveillance authorities were able to monitor three such transactions made in the 5400 block of South Hamlin, the 3200 block of West 53rd Street, and the 3900 block of West 47th Street near Midway Airport in the Gage Park and West Elsdon neighborhoods.

On Wednesday authorities arrested Gonzalez and Chavarin. Four other individuals were arrested for their roles in the operation and two other defendants are already in custody on state and federal charges. A ninth individual remains at large.

During the course of the arrests authorities also recovered approximately $250,000 in cash.

All are charged with one count each of Criminal Drug Conspiracy and Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute, both Class X felony charges punishable by up to 60 years in prison upon conviction.

Chavarin and Gonzalez are due in bond court today at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago along with the four other individuals arrested yesterday and charged in the case.

The public is reminded that charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: statesattorney.org